The tumultuous entry into Jerusalem was behind them. The disciples wondered, “What had it achieved?” The ordinary people were waiting, something was going to happen, but what, no one knew.
Yeah, He always talked a little weird, in ways that were a bit hard to understand, and so the disciples threw His words about Him dying and all such negative vibes over their shoulders and focused on more important matters at hand. They had to settle who was the greatest among them; who had the most right to take the plum positions in the kingdom that was surely going to be established after the Messianic revolution.
They were to celebrate the Passover feast, reclining on silken cushions at a table, to remind them, that they were no longer slaves in Egypt. But there was one obstacle. Dirty feet! One couldn’t recline at the table and partake of the feast with dirty feet.
Where was the slave girl or boy whose job it was to wash feet? Why wasn’t there one? Judas, are you penny-pinching again? No, not me, that’s not my job! Why don’t you do it, you are the youngest? The squabbling and bickering grew louder.
Jesus’ heart overflowed with tender amusement and affection towards them. They would learn, they would change in time.
Silence fell on the room as Jesus put off His outer garments, and girt Himself with a towel. Surely, He couldn’t mean to do a slave’s job? Yes, He did. The water was poured into a basin, and Jesus knelt at the feet of His disciples and began to wash.
“I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. This water washes off the grime from your feet. The dust of all the earthly streets is now lying dissolved in this basin of water. But the words I have spoken to you, these three years, has done something much deeper. It has started the process of cleansing your heart of the grime of the world. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. Your feet are now made beautiful and ready to carry the gospel of peace and God’s kingdom to the farthest ends of the earth.”
Peter, watched with growing indignation. Really guys, how can you let the MASTER wash your feet? Is this how you show Him respect?
Not too long ago, the disciples had watched in tight-lipped disapproval as Jesus feet were washed in tears, anointed with oil and lovingly wiped with hair. Apparently they had forgotten it, or else did not think Jesus worthy of such honour. Peter objected to having his feet washed, but neither he, nor any of the other disciples offered to wash Jesus’ feet.
Jesus asked them, “Do you understand what I have done for you?”
“Don’t you see the greatest idol you serve is the idol of self? Self, stands in the way of seeing another’s need. Self makes you hold onto your dignity and rights. I, Your Teacher and Lord, have knelt before you to serve you, because I love you. Where there is love, self gets off the throne. Love does not look to see if it is getting as much as it gives. Love seeks to bless the beloved. Can you see that? I have shown you the full extent of My Love.”
Truly, truly, I say to you,
a servant is not greater than his master,
nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.
If you know these things,
blessed are you if you do them.
John 13:16-17 ESV
Some random thoughts:
>> Very often we think, that if we do to others, as we would have them do to us, it means that others will do for us what we do for them. Not so. Most of the time we are called to do for others what they will not do for us. The disciples did not wash Jesus feet. He knew they would run away when He needed them the most and betray Him as Judas did, but He washed their feet anyway.
>> Self-deification, and a sense of entitlement, blocks us from truly loving others.
>> Jesus said that He did only what He saw the Father doing. So in Jesus’ actions, we see the heart of the Almighty, kneeling to serve, to meet our needs. When we talk of Jehovah- Jireh, our provider, we are describing the Servant Heart of the Almighty Holy God, the One who is willing to stoop to see our needs, to fill them, and to carry our burdens.
>> He calls us to follow His example; to love expecting nothing back. And by our actions, proclaim the Father’s heart.
Don’t do anything from selfish ambition
or from a cheap desire to boast,
but be humble toward one another,
always considering others better than yourselves.
And look out for one another’s interests, not just for your own.
The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had:
He always had the nature of God,
but he did not think that by force he should try to remain equal with God. Instead of this,
of his own free will he gave up all he had,
and took the nature of a servant…
Php 2:3-7 GNB
**** The italicised words purporting to be Jesus’ words, are entirely my own. They are based in part on Ezekiel 36:25-27 ESV